Danny Care and Luke Northmore both scored two tries as Harlequins remained firmly in the Gallagher Premiership play-off places with a high-scoring 59-24 victory against Gloucester.
Third-placed Quins scored nine tries in what was their sixth win in their last eight games, although this is one they effectively had to win twice, having seen a 24-0 lead slip away.
A Gloucester side missing a multitude of first-team players fought back impressively either side of half-time before eventually falling away and having veteran Matt Banahan sent off for a dangerous tackle.
Thanks for all the messages luckily the @gloucesterrugby medic department are world class. If someone says how do you remember your possible last ever game I will say ‘’ who knows’’ pic.twitter.com/HWOyLlCQX7
— matt banahan (@mattbanahan1) March 20, 2021
Harlequins made some early pressure count in the 10th minute, as Mike Brown’s offload send Cadan Murley away down the left and he timed his pass to give Northmore an easy finish in the corner.
Marcus Smith could not convert from out wide but Quins were too hot to handle in the opening 20 minutes and were soon scoring again.
After Alex Dombrandt and Andre Esterhuizen had been stopped just shot, Care recycled the ball for Brown, who stretched over to score.
Quick hands from Smith and Brown then allowed Murley to score the hosts’ third try and the bonus point was secured after just 26 minutes, as Care was given a walk-in by James Chisholm.
Smith’s conversion took the score to 24-0 by the time Gloucester conjured a response and it was a good one as well, as Jack Clement went on a fine run before sending Charlie Chapman under the posts.
George Barton converted before kicking a penalty four minutes into the second half to bring the visitors back to within two scores.
It really was ‘game on’ after 51 minutes, when Cherry and Whites skipper Matt Garvey stretched over from close range, and a remarkable fightback was complete two minutes later.
Gone was the accuracy in Harlequins’ game and a loose pass was seized upon by Chapman, who had a clear run to the posts, meaning Barton could convert to level the scores.
Parity did not last long, however, as Quins got their act together to move back in front, with Brown moving the ball outside to Northmore, who ran clear before passing back inside to give Care his second try.
The hosts’ sixth try arrived after 62 minutes, as the ball went through the hands of Smith, Murley and Esterhuizen before Tyrone Green finished well down the right.
Following Banahan’s red card for a tackle on Green, Harlequins finally made sure of the win when Dombrandt grounded the ball off the back of a scrum.
There was still time in a whirlwind of a game for Northmore to grab his second before Dombrandt did likewise off the final play from a driving maul.
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